by Ron Gregory
The death of long-time West Virginia Republican political activist Bill Pauley stirs many memories.
Pauley, who once served on the Lincoln County School Board before becoming a force to be reckoned with in Charleston, was a natural leader with a keen sense of humor and great spirit.
Pauley devoted a dozen or so years of his long life to serving as West Virginia’s GOP National Committeeman before he and his wife, Susan, “retired” to Nashville, Tennessee to be near their children.
It is a fact to say that Billy Pauley never completely “retired” from anything. In Nashville, he was still active in the Church of Christ and there were no West Virginia political races he failed to call me to talk about after leaving. He’d want to know who I thought was winning and what the issues were, etc. He probably knew more about every one of those races than I did, but he loved to talk the political game and strategy.
I had the great honor of spending several weeks with him in 2004 when I was helping with the Dan Moore for Governor campaign. Billy took time off from his Tennessee home and stayed in West Virginia for at least a two-week bus tour of the state. We loved to laugh when getting on or off the luxurious bus paid for by gubernatorial candidate Dan Moore and announce that we were a part of the “Billy Pauley and Ron Gregory Farewell Tour sponsored by Dan Moore.”
Billy, along with another super friend, Jimmy Joe Wedge, liked to ride along on the bus and join me in singing old-fashioned gospel hymns. Moore would sit in his chair, smile and listen. He was definitely not a singer. When I asked him once to “lead us in a hymn,” he said, “I can’t.” Billy quickly chimed in, “In church all your life, and you don’t know one single hymn?” It was great fun and friendship.
Bill and I had previously worked together in the 1995 campaign of Kent Strange Hall for Mayor of Charleston. Pauley was the campaign chair and I did most of the field work. Our aim was first, to beat the appointed, incumbent Charleston Mayor Chuck Gardner and then go on to the win the general election.
Billy’s skills, judgment and good humor kept us going through some long and tense days. As the primary approached, every poll any of us saw had Gardner and Hall running neck-and-neck. But, on election day, the results clearly went out way and Hall was eventually elected Mayor.
During that campaign, Pauley taught me a great deal about city politics. He showed me how to organize precincts; how to generate enthusiasm in the neighborhoods; and, generally, how to elect someone. I considered him a great mentor and friend.
We did not see eye-to-eye on everything, of course. Billy was an “Underwood Republican” and I am a “Moore Republican.” Generally, those two will never meet.
Yet we had great fun on the Dan Moore bus tour bantering about Underwood and Moore. Billy and Wedge, another Underwood man, would extol the virtues of the Courtesy Patrol and how Underwood had created it. I would call it the biggest waste of taxpayer money the state had ever seen. We’d go at it pretty well but, at the end of the day, we all hugged and were united in our efforts. Billy Pauley was not a man who carried a grudge or much animosity toward anyone.
I join with many thousands of West Virginians in mourning Bill Pauley’s passing. Leaving us from a Nashville area hospital did not afford most to say a final farewell. But I am confident Billy drew his last breath knowing he had done well “my good and faithful servant” and that he was admired and loved by many.
Condolences to wife Susan, their children and extended family. We are all better, as Conrad Lucas said, because Billy Pauley passed this way among us.
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Kanawha County is doing what we would expect: they are being open with their deliberations to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Democrat member Dave Hardy. Hardy moved on to the Statehouse as the new Tax Commissioner in the Jim Justice administration. That means sitting members, Democrat Kent Carper and Republican Hoppy Shores, will fill the vacancy with another Democrat as the law requires.
The new appointee cannot represent either of the magisterial districts represented by Shores and Carper since state law limits Commission membership to one from any magisterial district.
Transparency is the name of the game in Charleston and all applicant names will be provided to the public, interviews scheduled and public deliberations between Carper and Shores. Under no circumstances, as often happens in other counties, will Shores and Carper meet or talk to make some kind of appointment “deal.” That’s not how either of them operates. It is also illegal but that generally does not slow down other counties.
It’s possible, for example, that the Lincoln County commissioners did not agree on a plan to “freeze hiring” before taking the bench last week, but extremely doubtful. That was the method they used to keep the new Republican Sheriff from hiring a chief deputy. No discussion between them beforehand? Okay … there’s this nice bridge in Brooklyn ….
However, as I said, that will not be Kanawha’s method. I am convinced Carper and Shores will not discuss filling the vacancy until they take the bench in public session to do it.
Watching transparent, open government operate is a glorious thing to behold. Thanks go to Commissioners Shores and Carper.
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I’m not a lawyer. The esteemed attorney Harvey Peyton reminded me of that while he was botching the Phoebe Harless lawsuit in Lincoln County.
Be that as it may, I have many doubts about the pot at the end of rainbows that local attorneys think they’ve found in suing pharmaceutical companies on behalf of towns and counties.
Many of the attorneys seeking such authorization are friends of mine, so no personal attack is intended here. But one of the first things that bothers me is that the state, through its Attorney General, already settled a lawsuit against drug manufacturers. Those millions of dollars were awarded to the state based on every citizen within the borders.
Now, along comes counties and cities, recognized sub-divisions of state government, and they plan to sue the same manufacturers for the same reason — they distributed far too many opiods in West Virginia over the years.
If this was being treated as a criminal matter, there is no question Cardinal Health could not be prosecuted again. If a jury had found them guilty of a crime and awarded a fine and sentence, there would be nothing further. If a Prosecutor tried to indict them for the same thing again, “double jeopardy” would kick in and the case would be removed.
But we are discussing civil cases here. Still, my reading and understanding of the law is that is serious doubt that the companies can be sued again. Primarily, since the residents of Madison and Wayne County are also residents of West Virginia, it seems to me a court has already awarded damages to the people of Madison and Wayne. That’s when something vaguely referred to by me as res judicata kicks in. In Great Britain, where many of our laws come from, that term prohibits repeated civil suits against defendants for the same thing.
Again, it is my thought that West Virginia residents have already been compensated in civil court for the proliferation of illegal drugs. I don’t know how we now compensate those same people as residents of Madison. How does a West Virginia resident not qualify as one of the aggrieved West Virginia parties that have already been paid (through the state government)? Class action suits are even limited by time and locations. But this is not?
I’m not a lawyer, Harvey … but I don’t get it.
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Few want to defend the big pharmaceutical manufacturers, and neither do I. That’s not the issue here. The question is similar to double jeopardy in civil court. How many times can anyone — pill makers or others — be sued for the exact, same thing by the exact, same people?
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Smarter legal minds than I are working on these cases, under the assumption they can press forward. So, I am likely finally wrong about something. If that turns out, it will be the third time I was wrong in my life — 1972, 1986 and, now, this …
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Most know I was and am a Trump supporter. I also supported President Obama. Some people cannot figure how that it is possible. Trust me. It is.
It is still beyond me how anyone expects to see the country move forward much when two sides are so ridiculously anchored to their beliefs as they are. Obama could not have pleased right-wing tea partiers if he paved their driveways with solid gold. Trump cannot make left-wing libtards happy if he presents each one with a check for a million dollars.
Such division is not unprecedented in this country. In fact, great divisions have always existed. Through three terms in office and into a fourth, Franklin Roosevelt was despised by conservative Republicans. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams ran the dirtiest presidential campaigns in history. So, all of this is not “a sign of the end of times” or anything, but it is frustrating.
Every right-thinking American should want Trump to do well. If he does well, the country is doing well. Yet, millions hate him, march in the street, riot and blame him for cloudy skies.
What’s good for Trump is good for America. Pure and simple.
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Your comments, story ideas, rumors and instances where government is open and transparent are always welcome. There won’t be many of those, so use my email listed or call my cell at 304-533-5185.